After Russian leader Vladimir Lenin had agreed to the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on 3 March 1918, the Allies decided to send troops to northern Russia. While the stated goal of the mission was to prevent the Germans from using the Russian port of Murmansk as a submarine base, the intent was to have the Allied force support the White Russian (anti-Bolshevik) forces against the Red Army.
The Allies sent two companies under the command of a Canadian officer, Lieutenant-Colonel J.B. Leckie, to Murmansk, The companies were chosen because of their experience in winter combat. In September, the 16th Canadian Artillery Brigade arrived in Archangel, southeast of Murmansk. The Canadians fought bravely with the White Army. For example, the 67th and 68th Batteries distinguished themselves during a Red Army assault at Tulgas, 200 kilometres south of Archangel.
The Red Army pushed northward, and the Allied forces eventually withdrew in May 1919. The Canadians left from Archangel in June 1919 and Murmansk in August 1919. Before their departure, 10 Canadians received the St. George's Cross, the Russian equivalent of the Victoria Cross, and a further 10 received the St. George's Medal. They were the only Allied troops to be decorated by the Russians.